Happy World Telecommunications Day

Categories: School of Science, Engineering and Environment

World Telecommunications Day (WTD) is an annual event that celebrates the constant evolution of communication.

We have come a long way since the first messages were exchanged using electricity with the pandemic highlighting the importance of communication and the different ways we can keep in touch. Professor Nigel Linge, our telecommunications expert at the University of Salford, pays tribute to the industry which celebrates its 175th anniversary this year and which has played such a critical role in helping us cope with the impact of COVID.

He said: “In a year dominated by COVID it is perhaps fitting that on World Telecommunications Day we reflect on how well the UK’s telecommunications industry coped with the challenges posed by the pandemic. National lockdowns placed unprecedented demands on the UK’s mobile and broadband networks bringing our reliance on such services into sharp focus as the vast majority of the population was told to work and study from home.”

“This resulted in a clear shift of data usage from mobiles to fixed broadband as people migrated from their offices to their homes. Consequently, the demands on domestic broadband, which normally peak in the evenings, were sustained throughout the day. Perhaps not surprisingly, daily broadband usage records were broken fifteen times throughout 2020.”

“Most importantly, the UK’s mobile and broadband networks held-up throughout the pandemic thereby ensuring that the country could continue to function, and people could maintain some form of human interaction through social media, video conferencing and of course, traditional telephone calls.”

“This success is not only a tribute to technological advances – the picture would have been radically different only ten years ago – but also to the telecommunications companies, Internet Service Providers, Video on Demand and Gaming providers, all of whom worked in partnership with the regulator, Ofcom, to mitigate risks to the national infrastructures.”

“Looking to the future, the challenge for the industry now is to reflect on what the lasting impact will be and how this will shape our need for connectivity and usage of online services. However, what the COVID pandemic has emphatically demonstrated to the world is that telecommunications is a critical utility.”

Below: Professor Nigel Linge

Nigel Linge

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